Monday, December 11, 2017

Quick start week 6

So I'm going into week 6 of my quick start weight loss.

Here was my weigh in this morning.

I've lost almost two percent body fat. And that makes me happy, but I had kinda figured on being further down than that at this point.

Granted this has not been easy. Trying to do this over the holidays has been even worse.

There is food everywhere!

But I am making progress. And I am thankful for that.

I've got two more weeks before I'm supposed to start the training cycle for my next race, but maybe I'll put off the spring race and focus on getting lean.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

That last five percent

One of my goals for this year was to get down to 12 percent body fat.

All year long though I've been hovering right around the 17 percent mark. I became very focused on my running and didn't give so much thought to weight-loss.

I realized though that I've got about eight weeks until my next training cycle begins so I thought about making a more concerted effort to lose these last few pounds.

I've been reading Matt Fitzgerald's books on nutrition and he had published a "Quick Start" guide for dropping a few pounds quickly. So I bought a copy from Google Books.

His training plan rests on three main facets: calorie deficit with a high percentage of protein, hill repeats and strength training.

I began the program Monday and my official weigh-in showed 177.6 pounds and 18 percent body fat.

I did have to adjust my diet a little to accommodate the calorie deficit and the higher protein levels. But I'm really enjoying the meals we've had so far.

Monday's lunch was salmon, snap peas and a sweet potato. We've also discovered pork tenderloin. We've been wanting to try it, but just hadn't ever gotten around to it.

Like I said, he's real into the hill repeats. Thankfully there are lots of great hills around town!

The really high protein intake was a bit of a challenge. I couldn't figure out how to get it up that high without going over my calorie limit. But Fitzgerald recommends protein shakes. I tried one brand about a year ago and couldn't stomach the stuff.

I bought a can of Equate protein mix though, and this stuff I really like!

I also found these protein bars without many calories and zero sugar.

So far I like the plan very much, I feel good. I'm not terribly hungry. And I've really been meaning to work on my strength training anyway, this gives me a good framework to follow.

Also this past week, I got a new piece of gear!

It's the Ultraspire Spry 2.0. I've been thinking about a hydration vest for a while so I can carry more water and supplies as my runs get longer.

I really liked what I'd seen about this model, and when I saw it on Amazon for $33 I couldn't resist and bought one.

The weather here has been very cool lately, which has given us a very brilliant display of fall colors. I haven't seen them like this in quite some time. It's beautiful. Here's a shot from this morning's run.

I'll keep you all updated how the weight loss goes!

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Hanson's Method review

Well, you can definitely count me a Hanson's convert!

I only began running a little more than two years ago. I ran my first ever half marathon last April. I finished in 2:11:33. For that race, I used one of Garmin's heart rate plans. But it left me like I could've done more. And I felt like I hurt too long after the race, as if I wasn't fully prepared.

I signed up to race the half at the KC Marathon which was Oct. 21. When I began training for it, I started out using the same plan from Garmin still thinking I wanted something different. I did that plan for about a week and a half before deciding I wanted/needed something more. I had checked out the Hansons book from the library earlier this year and had been lurking these groups so I went ahead and ordered the book for myself and printed one of the free calendars from the website.

I had to skip the first week or so of the calendar because of the time frame but I'd gotten my mileage up to about 20 per week so I just jumped right in. I really want to break 2 hours on a half marathon but I thought that might be a little ambitious so I set up my paces for a 2:05 finish time. The first couple weeks really kicked my rear end, but I could really feel a difference too.

So I stuck with it. Other than having to jump in late, I missed only 3-4 workouts. I debated starting out with the 2-hour pace group, but I decided since I'd trained for 2:05 that was who I'd stick with. But I realized about a mile in that I was feeling really good and I wanted to give more, so I ignored the pace band the rest of the race and ran by feel.

I finished in 2:02:31 and I am super happy. It was warmer than usual, pretty humid and very windy. Plus the Kansas City course is really challenging (ie- hilly!). But it was a beautiful race, and I had a blast! Now to figure out training paces for that sub-2!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Stuffed winter squash

I decided once a week I would cook dinner.

The first week I just made spaghetti, but this week I settled on a recipe in the current issue of Runner's World magazine.

It's winter squash stuffed with quinoa, tomatoes and corn.

I had fun making it, and it was delicious.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

KC Marathon 2017

On Saturday, Oct. 21, I ran my second half marathon at the Kansas City Marathon. And I had a blast!

My Beloved and I booked a hotel room right at the start/finish and made a little run-cation out of it.

We took off work Friday and drove up early so we could get checked in and take a long look at the expo.

While at the expo, we visited with the Saucony rep at the Run816 booth and we each bought our next pairs of shoes.

My Beloved went for a pair of Freedoms and I got another set of Rides.

When we got done looking around there, we did a little sight-seeing. KC has an awesome newish street car that I had yet to ride so we had to check it out.

After that we had dinner at a nice Italian place called Milano's at Crown Center then went back to the room. This was the view from our room that evening.

Isn't that incredible? I love KC!

We didn't sleep very well that night, I get so excited the night before a race like this.

Also I'd adjusted my nutrition plan a bit since my first half back in April. This time around I woke up around 2 a.m. and had a bagel with peanut butter and banana. I think it definitely helped.

My start time was a little after 7 a.m., so we were up and at it by 5:30. We got ready and headed to the start line.

It was blustery and felt pretty chilly, but I knew it'd warm up when we started running.

After the anthem and some fireworks, we were off!

I had a little debate with myself whether I should stick with the 2:05 I trained for or push for that sub-2. Instagram unanimously voted I should try for the sub-2, but I decided I should stick with what I trained for.

About a mile in though, I realized that purposely holding myself back was just as stupid as pushing myself too hard. So I left the pace group and ran by feel.

I wasn't planning on taking my phone out for any pictures, but it's so easy to access it with the Nathan VaporKrar pack and there were so many great scenes I couldn't resist, so I did snap a few.

It was mostly cloudy that morning, but as I came up this hill the sun peaked out and hit these trees with changing leaves.

There were several live bands along the way and it was great to hear their music while I ran.

And I'm so happy the race photographers got several good photos of me as I was running.

I had such a great race, my time was 2:02:31. I felt like I gave all I had to give.

However, this past week I have not hurt nearly as bad as I did after my first half last spring. I really credit the different training program for that. My first half I was following Garmin's heart rate plan, which was a fine plan I just don't think it fully prepared me for what I wanted to do. This time around I followed the Hanson's Method which I loved and I think did a much more thorough job. I will talk more about the Hanson's plan in an upcoming post.

The Kansas City race was such a great race! It was so beautiful. Yes, it was challenging, look at these hills!

And the wind was blowing steady in our faces for a good portion of the middle of the race. But I LOVED it! I can't wait to do it again.

Maybe next time I can crack that sub-2 hour mark.

I had planned to go from here to the full marathon distance. But I've had a couple thoughts on that.

First, I love the half marathon. It's the most popular distance for good reason. It's enough distance it really requires effort. But not so much as to interfere with the rest of a person's life. Which is what I fear training for a marathon would require of me at this point.

Secondly, I think my body is telling me I need a few more halves before trying to tackle a full. I didn't hurt nearly as much after this one as I did my first, but I did still hurt a little. And I think it will be wise to have more preparation before making the jump to full.

I'll leave you with a little video I put together of our trip.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Band on the Run part deux

Two years ago when I started running, I didn't have any intention of signing up for any races.

But in September 2015 the local high school held the Band on the Run 5k about the time I finished the C25k program. So I decided to sign up for it.

Here I am at the starting line of that race. I weighed 230 pounds. I finished in 33:54, and that hurt!

They didn't hold the race in 2016, but a couple weeks ago they announced they would run it this year.

I told myself I wasn't going to run it, my training plan called for a 12-mile long run that day. But when I woke up yesterday morning, I just had to!

Here I am before the race yesterday. I weigh 175.

Here we are getting ready for the start!

Here I am crossing the finish line. My watch said 24:25! I am so happy!

My time was good enough to get me first place in my age group!

Running has changed my life. The progress I've made over the past two years blows my mind.

I really hope I can make running my life, helping others find the joy in it that I've found.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Labor Day weekend

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend, where we celebrate working by not working! LOL!

We went to Kansas City primarily so my Beloved could spend some time with her sister.

But I had to go running of course.

Saturday we took out on a nice trail near her sister's house about sunrise, it was very nice.

Later that day we went out and did some shopping. I got a nice photo of the carousel at the mall.

Sunday morning I found out the nice folks at Run 816 were hosting a free group run of 11 miles through downtown Kansas City. So I had to take part in that.

There was a good number of folks who showed up for the run. I wish I had talked to more people, but I'm not very outgoing (working on it though!)

I really wanted to just run, but the photographer in me couldn't help but make some pictures.

I did fall in and get to meet Sarah and Emily when I got a little confused as to which way I should run. Thanks again for letting me run with you all!

The run went along the riverfront too, it was spectacular!

This is the ASB Bridge, the lower deck is for trains and the upper deck used to carry cars. The upper deck is no longer in use but trains still go over the lower. And it's a draw bridge! Those big rectangular blocks are weights. The lower deck rises straight up into the upper so tall barges can pass underneath. Here's a video of it in action on YouTube!

Going up the stairs I was surprised to find folks have been putting love locks on the fence. I knew people do that in Paris and such didn't think anyone would do it here!

My half marathon is a little more than a month away. And I'm very excited.

My Beloved decided to register for the 5k, I'm so proud of her!

We decided to book a room at the hotel right near the starting line so we won't have to get up so early on race day. We can just walk right outside to the race!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hanson's Half-Marathon Training

I'm several weeks into the Hanson's Half-Marathon training plan and I thought I'd give my thoughts on it thus far.

Basically, my thoughts are that it is much much higher mileage.

And I like it. I really really like it. Every run now is more than 5 miles, and many are 8 or more. My long runs are up to 10-12 miles.

I went from 20-mile weeks to 40 miles plus! I LOVE IT!

The Garmin heart-rate plan which I did for my first half was adequate. But I always thought I wanted to do more mileage. The training never really challenged me, it never really hurt. But after the race, I hurt quite badly. I was pretty worried at one point.

The Hanson's training is challenging, and it hurts sometimes. So my hope is that by hurting some now, it will hurt less after the race this fall.

And speaking of fall, they're bringing back pumpkin spice this year! LOL! I don't imagine I'd like it, but then again maybe I should give it a shot.

I hope you all are well!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Training for my next half marathon

So I've really been neglecting this blog, haven't I? Haha!

Well, I started training for my next race, which will be the half at the Kansas City Marathon on Oct. 21.

I decided to try the Hanson's Method training program, it is quite different than the heart rate plan from Garmin. And I like it!

Significantly higher mileage on this plan, that's for sure!

Training is going well though. I haven't had any issues with injury thankfully. I did have a not very happy time with a pair of shoes last week however.

I bought a new pair of Saucony Kinvaras which wore blisters in my heels within a mile or two of going out in them for their first run.

The great folks at RunAround Joplin pointed out the new model of that shoe have a differently designed heel cup than the previous model which I believe caused those nasty blisters.

They also told me that Kinvara is only a 200 mile shoe and with my training regimen I should be in a shoe with a bit more padding. So they put me in a Saucony Ride 10, and advised me to get a half-size larger and I'm in love. Those shoes are great!

I'll try to be better at posting here, but keep in mind I post nearly every day on my Instagram account!

Be well!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

First ever half marathon done!

Saturday, April 22, 2017, I ran my first ever half marathon. And it was an incredible experience.

I was freaking out over the weather forecast and not trusting my training again, but I didn't have anything to worry about.

The weather turned out fine and my training was spot on.

I woke up early Saturday morning because I couldn't hardly sleep. First thing I checked the radar and was delighted to find the forecasted rain moving out of the area. I had a bagel with peanut butter and a banana and headed out the door. I stopped at a McDonald's for a coffee and headed to the race.

Start time was scheduled for 6:45 a.m.

When we pulled onto the exit ramp to the race area at 6 o'clock, this is the sight that greeted us:

Traffic was already backing up pretty badly. We followed the line of cars around and found a spot to park.

I wore my fleece sleeping pants over my shorts because the temperature was right around 45 degrees, I was so happy it wasn't raining though!

Here's a shot at the starting line area.

Here I've shed my warm clothes and am getting ready to line up with my chosen pace group.

We were in line waiting when I took out my phone to get a photo and noticed a notification from the Garmin race app. They had delayed the start 15 minutes because of folks still trying to get parked. Yikes! It was so cold, but it wasn't so bad with all of us standing pretty close together.

A little before 7 o'clock, they announced they were pushing the start time back yet another 10 minutes. Haha! Oh well.

Finally at 7:10 they sang the national anthem and we were off.

Now I said earlier that I didn't have faith in my training. And I need to say right off that it was entirely my own fault. See I recently got a fancy new watch, the Forerunner 230. Which has a "race predictor" feature. And that feature predicted I could run a half in less than two hours. Now the 5k and 10k predictions were pretty close to what I can actually run, so I trusted the watch about the half.

The only problem was that my body and training was telling me that I could not run that fast. When I started my race, I ran in accordance with what my training had told me, and I did great!

I averaged 10 minutes per mile the entire 13.1 miles. And this was a challenging course. There were a good amount of hills, I'm really glad I decided long back in my training not to skimp on the hills!

This was about mile 8, where my Beloved and her sister had set up see me as I passed. It was really good to see them there! That's a funny trick of the camera, makes me look like I'm right on that lady's heels! I swear I wasn't that close.

Anyway, the race was really great. I felt like I gave a good effort. I was just about spent by the time I got done.

This was somewhere around mile 10 or so, it's one of the official race photos! Looking good!

Just after this photo it got pretty hard. There were a series of three hills that were very steep hills. And then the last half mile to the finish line we turned north to face straight into a headwind that must've been about 20 mph That was brutal!

I finished in 2:11:33, very very close to my target of 2:10. I was so happy!

Here's the official race photo of the finish line.

I didn't stay long at the party. That wind was blowing and I was wiped out. I wish that I had though. Definitely next time. I'll plan a little better and have more appropriate clothes waiting for me at the finish line!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Week 8 half marathon training: Race a 10k!

My training plan called for racing a 10k today. Since  I couldn't get to any live races I registered for a virtual from US Road Running.

It was really cold out when I ran it, but when you're running you don't really notice the cold.


I'm really pleased with my performance during this race. I beat my previous 10k time by more than four minutes. I was hoping to do a little better, but I was surprised at how much faster I was able to finish.

This race was a real shot in the arm for confidence. I've been kinda wondering whether this training plan I'm following was helping me out. This was concrete proof that it's doing what it's supposed to be doing and I'm thrilled.

The Garmin Marathon, where I'll be running my first ever half-marathon, is only 56 days away now. I can't wait.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Week 7 half marathon training

We rode to get groceries on last Sunday and my Beloved tells me my rear wheel is out of true. When I got home I found a broken spoke. Not very happy about that. Thankfully I had a spare wheel to put on till I can figure out what I want to do about that.

Tuesday was Valentine's Day, and my Beloved sure knows the way to my heart!

The Garmin Connect app got an update this week that included this new feature. It will automatically put your activity stats on a photo for you to share. It's kind of limited, it only does this one thing. But it's still pretty neat.

I really like the Orange Mud hydration packs, but they aren't something I really need right now. I will surely buy one of their vests when I start really racking up the miles later this year in preparation for my first ever marathon. I have had my eye on this Squishy Hat they sell. So I ordered one and it came in the mail.

My first run with the Squishy hat and it's exactly what I was wanting in a hat. Something to put on my head so I wouldn't have to worry about my hair before a run (LOL!), something to act as a sweatband that didn't look like a sweatband, and something with a bill I could use to keep the sun out of my eyes. The Squishy Hat performs very well. And it even (mostly) fits my massive melon! I usually have to special order hats from a store that specializes in triple-XL size hats.

Today's long run was my longest run to date. And it's still only half way to the finish line of a half marathon! And there's only 63 days left to the Garmin Marathon! Part of me is screaming, "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!" But I'm sure I can do this.

Last week's long run was kind of miserable. My usual habit is not to eat anything before my morning runs. But with my runs getting up in the 90 minutes plus range I think that's hurting me. So today I had a bowl of granola cereal with milk and a glass of water. I felt much better on this run, so we'll have to keep an eye on that.

The weather has been crazy beautiful here these last couple days.